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You won’t catch Mike Smith wearing a cape, but this irrepressible Halcyon Lakeside resident is a hero, nonetheless.

Mike will be awarded the Australian Bravery Medal this month in recognition of his heroism as a marine rescue volunteer, displaying considerable bravery during the rescue attempt of a race yacht crew in treacherous seas off the coast near Port Stephens in New South Wales on 6 January 2016.

Mike was the engineer and one of seven crew members aboard rescue vessel Port Stephens 40, which was called in to assist a yachting crew that had fallen foul of cyclonic conditions just south of Seal Rocks.

Port Stephens 40 rescue boat
Rescue vessel Port Stephens 40

While rendering aid, Mike’s vessel was hit by a rogue wave, sending the crew flying and tipping Port Stephens 40 on its portside.

“I was on the top deck with a searchlight, and I felt this surge coming from behind me on the starboard side,” Mike recalled.

“I grabbed hold of everything, we had lifelines attached of course, and over she went.”

Propellors in the air, Port Stephens 40 and its crew were pummelled by a second and third wave before Mike was able to restart the engine, allowing the skipper to right the vessel as the rescued yacht crew made it safely ashore in a life raft.

Now 78 and having stepped back from marine rescue duties, Mike said he is excited about receiving the Bravery Medal, which will be presented by the Governor-General of Queensland at Government House on 22 September.

“I think it’s a great award and a great reward, not that you’re looking for that when you’re in the middle of six- to eight-metre waves and trying to rescue somebody,” he laughed.

“I feel a bit humbled, but I’m very pleased that the whole crew are being awarded the Bravery Medal, not just a couple of us.”

Mike Smith and his crew
Mike Smith and the rescue crew of Port Stephens 40

Mike lives with his wife Sandy at the award-winning Halcyon Lakeside community in the coastal suburb of Bli Bli, where they enjoy the relaxed lifestyle afforded by thoughtful streetscapes and world-class facilities.

The pair made the move from NSW four years ago.